Christmastime is an ideal travel time in China for with few crowds at attractions, because there are no public holidays in Chinese mainland (apart from New Year's Day). Airlines and hotels also have promotions to offer you a super cost-effective Christmas holiday (nearly RMB3000 off for a Tibet tour).
Before deciding where to go for your vacation, why not take a few minutes checking out our 15 recommendations, sorted into handy categories (Xmas fun, winter escapes, adventures, and relaxing staycations) for inspiration?
Enjoy Fun Available only in the Christmas Season
For experiencing a frozen and snowy world and winter fun, Northeast China is the best place.
Not just making a snow man or having a snowball fight, you can walk into "Elsa's ice castle", sled through a snowy forest, enjoy a BBQ in a winter wonderland…
1. A White Christmas at the Harbin Ice Festival
When winter comes, frozen Harbin is decorated with awesome ice and snow. "Ice City" Harbin definitely has all the elements of a great winter holiday.
The themed ice and snow celebration activities begin in late December, though the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival officially opens on January 5th. Be the first to see the finished sculptures!
At the Ice and Snow World, colorfully-lit, life-size ice carvings and huge snowy designs yield a spectacular winter paradise.
Become an excited child (again) when you enter Harbin Ice and Snow World. It could be you tossing a handful of powder snow like magic fairy dust in the ice castle. The castle becomes tasty candy colors when night falls.
Read more about Harbin Ice Festival >>>
2. Experience the Best Skiing at Yabuli Club Med
After enjoying a fabulous ice fairyland experience in Harbin, you can soon get to Yabuli (3 hours from Harbin) to have fun in an all-inclusive ski resort and enjoy an outdoor hot spring surrounded by snow.
You will feel the happiness and excitement of speeding through the snow when stepping off the top of the slope into the snowy wonderland.
Read more about Yabuli Ski Resort >>>
3. Take a One-Horse Open Sleigh through the Snowy Forest near China's No. 1 Snow Town
Love snow fun? Just extend your trip to China Snow Town with a 3-hour journey from Yabuli or 5 hours from Harbin. Snow brightens up the Christmas vibe. See a dreamy snowy village and landscape, and enjoy the fun of playing in the snow in China Snow Town.
Take a one-horse open sleigh through the snowy forest. The white world under the blue sky is a fairyland on earth.
4. See the Last Reindeer Tribe's Reindeers in Inner Mongolia
Yearning for the ultimate ice and snow experience, but resent the crowds? Why not cross the vast ice fields and retreat to the forests with China's reclusive reindeers in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia?
Inner Mongolia is not just highly visitable for its beautiful grassland vistas. With transport becoming more convenient, it has become another popular winter destination, known for its boundless ice and snow scenery and primitive nomadic culture.
- Visit the last reindeer herder's tribe in China and get close to reindeers like Santa's..
- Visit the remaining six families in China's coldest village and find out how they fight against the extreme coldness.
- A hot pot on an ice table and a BBQ on a snow field would be the coolest dining experiences, which might make even your Chinese friends jealous!
- Sleep on a traditional heated brick bed and work with local people to experience authentic Mongolian daily life.
5. Winter Rafting at Changbaishan Mountain
Located on the border between China and North Korea, Changbai Mountain has splendid scenery in all four seasons, but it is especially beautiful in winter.
The forest sea of Changbai Mountain is white with snow and rime. The white waves of hot spring steam rise and fall in the wind and crystallize on the trees.
You might have experienced rafting in summer time, but have you ever done winter rafting on a hot spring river?
Changbaishan is also a ski paradise for ski lovers. Wanda Changbaishan Ski Resort sits at the foot of Changbaishan mountains, which is highly recommended for its friendly service, updated facilities, and various food choices.
Winter Escapes for a Warm Christmas
If you would like to have a warm Christmas break, we would probably take you to the deep south of China. Have fun with a sailboat on the tropical ocean in Sanya, hike and eat in the rainforest, or enjoy the warm sunshine on the Yunnan highlands.
6. Scream with Delight in Sanya
The long coastline, glorious sunshine, romantic islands, and golden shores make Sanya a favorite winter destination for travelers. Some even say that its beautiful beaches make it the "Hawaii of China".
Blue sea, beaches, and sunshine should not be your only expectations for a warm Christmas escape. Sail a Hobie sailboat, and experience its speed when spreading the sails to offer yourself a Christmas treat.
7. Be Close to Nature in Xishuangbanna
Xishuangbanna is a paradise of plants and animals. It is one of the few places where you can feel a truly tropical world in China and the only place in China for interacting with animals. Chinese culture and Southeast Asian culture influence each other there.
- Hike in the rainforest to have a "Man vs. Wild" experience.
- Find a special Christmas meal in the rainforest after the hike.
- Stay in a "tree house" in an animal kingdom.
- Read your kids a bedtime story in the jungle canopy on Christmas Eve.
8. Enjoy the First Rays of Sunshine of the New Year in Dali
Dali, a popular travel destination in Yunnan Province, attracts people from all over the world. Dali's peaceful vibe and stunning views will help you forget your worries and troubles.
If you haven't visited Erhai Lake, you can't say you have been to Dali. This Christmas, book a boutique hotel on the banks of picturesque Erhai Lake to enjoy the sunshine and breezes, and relax like a figure in a beautiful oil painting. The clouds floating on the mountain are like marshmallows in the crisp winter sunlight.
Why not learn to make a special desert in a garden between grand Cangshan Mountain and charming Erhai Lake to enrich your Christmas feast?
Challenge Yourself with Christmas Adventures…
Would challenging yourself to discover the unique and less-known landscapes of winter or having a cultural adventure excite you?
9. Hike through One of the Deepest Valleys — Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest gorges on the planet, and it has the best hiking trail in the Lijiang area.
Celebrate with a beer after hiking through the magnificent Tiger Leaping Gorge (2 hours from Lijiang) and continue to discover the real best-kept secrets of the Jinsha River (Yangtze).
Read more about Tiger Leaping Gorge Hiking
10. Trek through the Tibetan Paradise of Yubeng
Trek on the holy ground of Yubeng (5 hours from Shangri-La) to witness a pristine ice lake and a sacred waterfall bestowed by a holy 'snow mountain' that has been never summitted.
You will escape into a hidden Tibetan village, enjoy a cup of Christmas Eve coffee, and see the starlight shine on snowy peaks.
Deqin is on the road between Shangri-La and Yubeng. You can pray in a Catholic church on a remote mountain with local Tibetan people and experience the union of Christianity and Tibetan culture.
After finishing your challenge, enjoy a very special New Year dinner — a Tibetan hot pot in a boutique tent manor hidden in a Tibetan village.
11. Treat Yourself to a Christmas on the Roof of the World – Tibet
You deserve a treat at the end of a year of hard work. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a stay in a desirable resort, or a dream trip come true. Tibet is on the bucket list for most travelers.
December is quiet and peaceful in Tibet. Many people have a wrong impression that it is too cold to visit Tibet in winter. Actually, Tibet has plenty of sunshine in winter. Lhasa enjoys the reputation of being "the city of sunlight".
Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, bonfires, and Tibetan dances, you will have an unforgettable Christmas in Tibet.
Receiving a new year's blessing from a lama in a lamasery at the foot of Mt. Everest could also be a very special moment for you.
Staycations Near Shanghai - Family Friendly and Relaxation
Don't want to take a long journey? Choose a staycation to enjoy family fun with your kids.
12. Ahn Luh Qiandao Lake Hotel - 3 hours from Shanghai
Ahn Luh is a new top Chinese hotel resort brand whose designer is from Aman. Focusing privacy and relaxation, Ahn Luh Qiandao Lake Hotel is children friendly and accessible by car and bullet trains.
The breathtaking lake views, outdoor infinity pools, and large variety of activities will never disappoint you. All you need to do is enjoy!
- Hike or bike around the island, enjoying nature's beauty
- Explore the charms of an old village, and see how local people live
- BBQs and picnics
You can add us on WeChat or submit a quick inquiry to get a quick reply for the hotel's special offer.
13. A 600-Year-Old Dream in Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao - 1 Hour from Shanghai
Zhujiajiao Ahn Luh is located in tranquil Zhujiajiao Water Town, 1 hour from Shanghai. It was the first Ahn Lhu Hotel to open in China. It has 35 villas with courtyard views and each room has its own personal garden.
Staycations in Zhujiajiao
Had a wonderful staycation at Anh Luh Zhujiajiao. The hotel was very luxurious and relaxing. The breakfast was incredible. Thanks to Wendy and Alisa for helping to arrange.
The hotel design features the Five-Phoenix Hall and Qing-Dynasty Stage as the core of the layout. During your staycation there, you can:
- Step outside to enjoy your fine garden
- Read your favorite book with a cup of tea in timeless peace
- Stroll in classical Zhujiajiao Water Town
14. Spa, Yoga, and Meditation in Anandi Hotel and Spa in Shanghai
As a member of LHW Group, Anandi Shanghai is a luxury hotel focusing on sleep quality and health. It is located near the winding Suzhou River, about 15 minutes' drive from the National Convention and Exhibition Center and Hongqiao Hub.
The whole hotel is like an art museum. From the rotating stairs and lobby corridor to the hanging paintings and ornaments, the unique design makes your stay there a calming and charming experience.
Contact us for the special offer for Christmas and New Year.
15. Escape to Nature at the Hyatt Regency Chongming - 1 Hour from Shanghai
The Hyatt Regency is located by Dongtan Wetland on Chongming Island, about 1 hour's driving from downtown Shanghai.
The whole hotel is like a big garden, with trees and lawns everywhere, lush and green.
The hotel is equipped with indoor and outdoor playgrounds for children. Camping and horse riding are also great experiences there.
You could also go boating in Dongtan Wetland Park and go biking in Dongping National Forest Park during your Shanghai staycation.
Send a quick inquiry for the price details and room availability.